The Disciplinary Commission stated that the team was wearing "improper clothing" not in accordance with the Athlete Uniform Regulations defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules of the Game.
The Norwegian Women's Beach Handball team was fined by the European Handball Federation for not conforming to the uniform regulations. The team chose to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms during the bronze medal game against Spain at the European championship game. For this, the Disciplinary Commission at the Beach Handball EURO 2021 fined the team 1,500 euros or $1,766 which would be 150 euros or $176 for each player. The stated reason was that the team was wearing "improper clothing" and that "the team of Norway played with shorts that are not according to the Athlete Uniform Regulations defined in the IHF Beach Handball Rules of the Game."
Norway's women's beach handball team was fined €1,500 for refusing to wear bikini bottoms at a European championship game.— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 20, 2021
Men wear shorts but IHF rules say women "must" use bikini bottoms, despite players saying that bikini bottoms are restrictive and uncomfortable to play in. pic.twitter.com/VwP2cxAE1H
This has created an outrage for the double standards in the uniform for the men and women beach handball teams. According to International Handball Federation (IHF) regulations, male athletes must wear shorts that are not too baggy and 10 centimeters above the kneecap. As for female athletes, they must wear bikini bottoms "with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg." The side width must be of a maximum of 10 centimeters. This cloth barely covers the players' buttocks and the players wanted to wear shorts because the standard uniform was too revealing.
This is what they have to wear. They say these bottoms make them feel unnecessarily sexualized + uncomfortable when they have their periods and the likes. They will however play in them as long as they are mandatory by the CEV. pic.twitter.com/OYmmS5PyGi— Tradia (@amalieskram) July 15, 2021
“I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” Martine Welfler, one of the Norwegian players told The New York Times. “With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play.” The matter was also brought up on social media by a Twitter user who stated: They say these bottoms make them feel unnecessarily sexualized + uncomfortable when they have their periods and the likes. They will however play in them as long as they are mandatory by the CEV. The team was also threatened to be disqualified in addition to being fined.
Eskil Berg Andreassen, the team's coach said that the official uniform can discourage more women from joining the sport to play professionally. "It should be possible to choose -- not to say that they have to play like this. If someone wants to play in bikini bottoms, they have the right to choose," he told CNN. He also noted that the team had been fighting for the right to wear alternatives to bikini bottoms for "several years."
For the bronze medal match, the decision to switch to the more comfortable shorts was a spontaneous decision by the team, Katinka Haltvik, the team captain said. “People cheered on us as we walked in front of several teams and took the brunt. Not all teams can afford to pay such fines,” Haltvik told Norwegian public broadcasting company NRK, according to The Washington Post. “I hope we get a breakthrough for this and that next summer we play in what we want,” Haltvik added after they were defeated by Spain. She hopes this act of rebellion will take the sport one step closer to let women wear what they want.
The Norwegian Handball Association (NHF) took to Twitter and shared a statement on the matter: "We are very proud of these girls who during the European Championships raised their voices and announced that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We at NHF stand behind and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the clothing regulations so that players are allowed to play in the clothes they are comfortable with." NHF had previously suggested changing the uniform requirements for female athletes during a meeting of the European Handball Federation in April. The IHF was expected to discuss the matter in November.
Vi er kjempestolte over disse jentene som under EM hevet stemmen og ga beskjed om at NOK ER NOK! Vi i NHF står bak dere og støtter dere. Sammen skal vi fortsette å kjempe for å endre regelverket for bekledning, slik at spillerne får spille i det tøyet de er komfortable med! pic.twitter.com/MmfiMtVz2Q— Norges Håndballforbund (@NORhandball) July 20, 2021